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Cape Town - Poo protest ringleader Loyiso Nkohla, who the city has accused of leading Wednesday’s violent protest despite being on sick leave, says he had not planned to attend the gathering and was diverted from a doctor’s appointment.
The city accused Nkohla and fellow poo flinger Andile Lili of leading the protesters.
Thousands gathered outside the legislature on Wednesday demanding that Western Cape Premier Helen Zille address them about their need for better housing, sanitation and access to electricity.
However, groups had broken away from the main gathering and repeatedly gone on the rampage, looting stalls, targeting traders. Shops were forced to shut in response.
City Speaker Dirk Smit said Nkohla had called in sick, applied for sick leave and provided a doctor’s certificate.
Nkohla, an ANC councillor, on Thursday confirmed to the Cape Times that he had not gone in to work on Wednesday as he had been sick.
He said he had submitted a sick certificate.
Nkohla said on Wednesday he had gone to a doctor and on leaving, got a call from a Cape Town Informal Settlements representative who was at the legislature.
“They called me to please come help,” he said.
Nkohla said he had left the protesters before a group had branched off, ran towards Long Street and gone on the rampage.
He described that group as having “tried to turn the whole thing”.
“I was not there,” he said.
On Wednesday mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said the city planned to sue Nkohla, Lili and other poo protesters in their personal capacities for damages caused during Wednesday’s protest and previous incidents.
On Thursday Nkohla brushed this aside, saying Smith was “always issuing crazy statements”.
He said the provincial government consistently tried to divert attention away from “the real issues of the people” - the need for better housing and sanitation.
Nkohla acknowledged it was not only the DA that faced challenges and said the national government did as well.
However, he said in the Western Cape, the provincial government displayed a “level of arrogance and ignorance” and were “racist” in their approach.
Nkohla said he and other protesters had gone to the provincial legislature a number of times to hand over memorandums about matters concerning residents, but Zille had not once addressed them.
“Helen Zille does not care about black people, Africans. She just wants to use them during elections,” he said.